The Week Started Normally

For April 10, 2022
It would come to be known as the Passion Week, but it started with the normal fanfare associated with Unleavened Bread and Passover, two major Jewish feasts where male attendance was mandated.1

Unleavened Bread and Passover celebrated the Children of Israel’s deliverance from four-hundred years of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:1-13:16, 23:17, 34:23). During that week of jubilant celebration, festive revelers, musicians, and celebrators from around the world converged on Jerusalem and increased the city’s population exponentially to well over a million persons, or several times its normal size, with song, dance, and reverie.

It was the first day of the week, then it happens; Jesus enters Jerusalem as the long-awaited Messiah riding a donkey. Crowds gathered to lay palm branches and their outer clothing in His path shouting,

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (Matthew 21:9 NIV)

Jesus did not ride a horse, as would a conquering hero. Instead, He rides the donkey’s colt, a symbol of peace, to present Himself as God’s humble emissary sent to redeem a fallen humanity. His calculated actions fulfilled the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV),

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

That day, Jesus visits the Jerusalem Temple where He heals the blind and lame. Then, He and the Disciples retire to nearby Bethany.

Several months have passed since Jesus’ last visit to the Samaritan village, where He “set His face” to complete His earthly ministry on a wooden cross at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51) On that occasion, He sought to surrender His life for the lives of fallen humans everywhere.

The ideas of mercy, redemption, and atonement are foreign to the self-centered, post-modern, millennial mind. But to those of us who have experienced His salvation—personally—through faith, can experience deep and lasting joy, fulfillment, and peace; knowing that He gave Himself freely, willingly, and completely to take away the sins of every man, woman, boy, and girl, past, present, and future.

Our noble human nature allows for the saving of a loved one when our love for them or our desire to protect them is what motivates us. However, saving a stranger, or known enemy, or even someone who hates us, is extremely hard to envision.

Not so with Jesus Christ. He was sin-less, yet He became sin for us in order for us to be righteous before God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Moreover, He was God and became our human Redeemer. (John 1:14)

Because of His great love for us, Jesus presented Himself to the world—on that blessed Palm Sunday—fully aware that His death would redeem us from sin and restore us to a loving, eternal relationship with God,

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19 (NKJV)

It is truly remarkable how our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ freely redeemed the Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, believer and non-believer. All of us can vicariously receive the full benefit of His perfect sacrifice—without preference or distinction. Now, no longer can Satan, sin, and death bind us, because our faith in His perfect work determines our righteousness (or lack thereof) before our Heavenly Father.

Jesus rode through the streets of Jerusalem, because He would redeem those who love Him, those who hate Him, those who believe in Him, and those who do not believe in Him. Won’t you accept Jesus as your Personal Savior today, so that you can have His great gift of eternal redemption?

What a Wonderful Savior!

The Mercy of God

For April 3, 2022
Mercy is when gracious favor is extended towards a person when judgment is expected and required. The Bible teaches how God extends mercy to a fallen humanity by extending life and grace when death and punishment are warranted (my emphasis),

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10 (NKJV)

Instead of experiencing God’s righteous justice and judgement, for the sins we’ve committed, He pardons us and sets us free—forever. Through faith in Christ, our sin nature is canceled, let go, sent away, pardoned, and forgotten forever. Our sins no longer define us. In addition, the Holy Spirit inhabits us—bringing us to life—to give us a new start… Born Again, and totally free from the guilt and shame associated with our sinful past, as one author explains,

Through his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation, come deliverance from the guilt and power of sin and the gift of new life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. So the believer is saved by Christ’s work on the cross (Acts 4:12); he is being saved now by the work of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier (Philippians 2:12) and he looks forward to completed salvation in the life of the age to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1 Peter 1:5).1

God also looks beyond our past to extend His mercy to us, as people in need of restoration. Much like in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), our Heavenly Father no longer sees us as “dead and lost.” Instead, He sees us as “alive and found.”

Our normal human reaction is to demand retribution, or keep mental and emotional records of wrongs. But, God does not. Although our fallen nature and sin offends Him far more than we could ever offend another person, He keeps no record of our past. Neither does He impose a probation period until we “earn” His good graces. Psalm 103:12 informs us that, “He has removed our sins as far as the east is separated from the west.”

God is holy and cannot abide sin, thus we are bound to spend eternity outside His presence in Hell; a place that burns forever with a fire that can never be quenched, reserved for sinners, demons, and the Devil himself. Yet, prompted by His great love, God restores us to full access to His Kingdom without restriction through Christ.

Thus, when we think on the mercy of God, we see something wonderful. We were convicted to eternal separation, “but God, who is rich in His mercy, with His great love with which He loved us,” offered Himself as a sacrifice for all humanity.

He gives us all the opportunity to become New Creatures by faith. We can be miraculously changed from sin-filled creatures to Spirit-filled creatures by His Holy Spirit. Then He offers justification or a “righteous standing” forever. No longer does God see our sin. Instead, He sees the righteousness of Christ.

God’s mercy sanctifies us as His Spirit works within us to shape us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through this great blessing of sanctification, His Spirit changes, guides, and teaches us how to fully experience the Abundant Life Jesus tells about in John 10:10.

God will come for us and glorify us so that we can abide in His presence and share His glory forever in Heaven—after we have truly overcome the world. Won’t you give your heart to Jesus Christ and experience the mercy of God today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

A Portrait of Faith Living

For March 27, 2022
We attribute this Psalm to King David, the son of Jesse, a man well acquainted with facing and overcoming adversity—by faith living. This declaration of faith has inspired God’s people for over three-thousand years, as he writes in these  seven verses,

1Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:1-7 (AKJV)

Sometime around one thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, David was the revered king of Ancient Israel for 40 years. Yet, his was an arduous journey.

    • He was born in Bethlehem, from the tribe of Judah as the youngest son of Jesse; the great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth and the ancestor of Jesus Christ.
    • He defeated the giant Goliath and the Philistine army with a stone and sling. But this notoriety made him a fugitive from King Saul’s wrath for about 8-10 years.
    • The men of Judah made him king at Hebron after Saul and Jonathan died in battle. Seven and a half years later, David becomes Israel’s king with Jerusalem, the City of David, as its political and religious center.
    • He has adulterous relations with Bathsheba and arranges her husband Uriah’s death in battle. (Solomon will be born later from this union.) Another son, Absalom, instigates a coup to overthrow him, but he dies in a skirmish.
    • He brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and desires to build a temple on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Nathan the prophet tells him that Solomon would do so. Yet God promises to establish his kingdom forever. (Fulfilled through Christ.)

Despite the adversities, poor choices, and character flaws, we regard David as a “man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) This because:

    • He had total faith in God.
    • He sought the Lord and lived by God’s Word, and
    • He didn’t excuse his sin but repented of them.

Today, we face our share of challenges. Personal tragedies coupled with the recent pandemic hysteria have altered how we view the world and each other, and what we consider “normal.”

For example, I can remember when our society, and our rule of law, preserved a contrast between right and wrong. We respected and welcomed prayer, the Ten Commandments, and Judeo-Christian values in the public discourse. Now, we condemn the righteous and praise the wicked to our own peril, just as the Bible warns,

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (AKJV)

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 (AKJV)

Sin surrounds us daily with increased hatred and hostility when, as a “civilized society,” we should show compassion and courtesy. We have a sacred trust to preserve public civility, decency, and goodwill wherever we are. We share this world with other human beings—made in God’s image. So it is in our best interest to spread goodwill. Otherwise, we will have more exploitation, discord, and violence.

Yet, as we face adversity, we have the comforting promise of God’s Word,

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18 (NKJV)

Here is David’s Portrait for Faith Living:

Fret Not
The Hebrew word for fret is charah (Strong – H2734), to burn or be kindled with anger. Other uses of the word are to become angry or furious, burn, be distressed, rage, or get very angry. Do not become heated with anger or become inflamed by the wicked exploits of godless degenerates. Do not let what others say or do shake your faith in God’s sovereign government, or be swept away with anxiety and fear because of what is happening around you. Anger will not resolve the issue. It can only produce ulcers, anxiety, and ill will.

The wicked’s success is of a very short duration. God sees, knows, and judges everyone and everything perfectly in this life and in the next. To many of us live for the here and now—“three-score and ten, and the most toys win!”—and forget that there is a vast eternity beyond the grave, and that we must acknowledge Him rightly to avoid eternal peril,

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Matthew 16:26 (AKJV)

As one writer puts it,

[We] have every reason to strengthen and exercise ourselves in faith in the holy government of God and in obedience to God’s holy will, in order that we may live to see the end and wait patiently for the result.1

In due time, God will avenge His own and remedy every transgression on earth. We may not see retribution in our lifetime, but God has promised final and complete vindication of His eternal righteousness,

It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them. Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.      Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  Revelation 20:12 (NKJV)

God’s in full control. Our focus should always be on the Lord; confident that He will handle the matter decisively. Thus, we can trust Him implicitly,

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it. But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Isaiah 26:3-7 (NLT)

The Hebrew word for trust is batach (Strong – H982), to trust. Other uses of the word are: confident, feel secure, have confidence, put one’s trust, to rely, or secure. As another author observes,

It exhorts us to trust in the protection of God, the righteous Judge, and to persevere in doing good, with the assurance of the final and often very sudden ruin of the wicked, and the sure deliverance and manifold blessings of the righteous.”2

Our faith is in God’s sovereignty and providence. Despite what is happening around us, the Lord wants us to trust in Him. And, He wants us to conduct ourselves in a manner that honors Jesus Christ—simultaneously,

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12: 1-2, 14-18 (NLT)

We trust in the Lord and by His Spirit working in us, we maintain our Christ-like character and behavior. The Lord has promised to show His faithfulness towards His precious children,

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.  2 Chronicles 16:9 (AKJV)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

While we bask in His faithfulness, we can also delight in Him.

The Hebrew word for delight is anog (Strong H6026), to make soft, pliable, delicate, or dainty, to live or spend in enjoyment. Other uses of the word are to be dainty or delicate, to take delight, to live or spend in enjoyment. The heart that delights in God will find its truest pleasure and satisfaction in being well and at ease. Here, expectation and fulfillment are realized as our desires for Him fulfill themselves.

It is easy to delight when we love the Lord. Jesus tells us that this is the greatest of all the Commandments,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

The Lord is and has all that can delight us perfectly. To delight in God is to find our most fulfilled wishes and deeply abiding joys. As we delight in Him, and we desire His perfect will, His abiding peace, joy, and tranquility can fill our souls. When we delight in the Lord, we can then commit all of our ways to Him.

The Hebrew word for commit is galal (Strong H1556), to roll or roll away. Other uses of the word are to roll down, to roll away, or to take away. When we “commit our way unto Him,” or “roll our concerns upon Him,” we are trusting in His ability to accomplish something on our behalf, because we know He will do it—completely and perfectly. To roll our way upon the Lord also implies our subordination to His perfect will and judgment in everything. In other words, we are confident in His ability to solve every problem and answer every question,

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen! 1 Peter 5:6-7, 10-11 (NKJV)

As we commit and trust, He will vindicate us and cause His righteousness to shine like the noonday sun. Then we can find complete rest and peace in Him.

The Hebrew word for rest is damam (Strong H1826), to cease or to be or grow dumb, silent or still. Other uses of the word are to cease or forbear, to hold one’s peace, to quiet one’s self, rest, to be silent, keep (or put to) silence, be (or stand) still, tarry, or wait. Resting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him shows confidence that He will perform what He promised—in the fullness of time. It is not up to us to understand the mysteries of God or the timing of His actions. However, it is up to us to rest in Him, and trust that His timing has been, is now, and will always be perfect; accomplishing His perfect outcome,

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (AKJV)

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.   Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Ours is an everlasting, faith relationship with a living Savior, who will never leave us or forsake us. We have an exceptional fellowship with the King of Kings, and Lord or Lords, as this hymnist attests,

What A Fellowship

Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858-1924)

What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, Leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

We cannot trust when we are fretting; we cannot commit if we do not delight, and without our commitment, we will never find rest in Him. Won’t you give your heart to Jesus and perform His portrait of faith living today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

The New Life In Christ

For March 20, 2022
Nicodemus was a Pharisee.1 He was also a member of the Sanhedrin.2 He yearned to meet Jesus Christ so he could talk privately—and listen. Although the Sanhedrin opposed Jesus, and that such a meeting meant social and political suicide, Nicodemus saw this as an opportunity to answer the questions: “Is what I hear about this Teacher true? Is Jesus our long-awaited Messiah?”

Jesus’ response to his esteemed guest was simple yet comprehensive,

Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3 (NKJV)

Jesus’ words may seem odd at first glance. Why not speak on world events, Roman domination, the plight of the Jewish Nation, or say something absolutely and utterly profound? Why talk about being Born Again, and why is this topic so crucial?

Scriptures can give us clues to the answer,

    • We, as humans, were created in the image of God. Our unique purpose was to have unbridled, eternal fellowship with our holy God.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good. Genesis 1:1, 31 (NKJV)

    • Although we were made in God’s image, we disobeyed Him and “Fell” from our holy and happy state. As a result, sin entered the world, and death through sin.

 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. Romans 5:19 (NIV)

    • The sinful plight of humanity requires the efficacious work of a Promised Redeemer.

And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15 (NLT)

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:3-6 (NKJV)

    • This Promised Redeemer would shed His blood for the remission of our sins.

 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God… Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  Romans 5 1-2, 9 (NIV)

In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 (NLT)

To illustrate our need for a Redeemer, Jesus relates to Nicodemus the story of the Children of Israel in the wilderness in Numbers 21:4-9. Fiery serpents bit Moses’ rebels, and many of them died. They asked for a remedy, and the Lord instructed Moses to create a brass serpent and raise it on a pole. Those who looked at the brass serpent were miraculously healed.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that He, likewise, would be “lifted up.” Whoever looks to Him by faith would be healed spiritually and given eternal life. Faith is our means of receiving God’s forgiveness and righteousness. This is consistent with two fundamental Old Testament Scriptures:

    • And [Abraham] believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6 (NLT)
    • Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)

Some have said the distance between Heaven and Hell is twelve to eighteen inches—the distance between the human head and the human heart. We may have the intellectual facts concerning Jesus Christ. But “head knowledge” is not enough. One must have “heart knowledge” through faith in Jesus as the Promised Redeemer as well.

With such a faith, we can experience a dynamic, spiritual transformation (Born Again) that makes us righteous before God and eligible to see and enter the Kingdom of God. We confess our sins before God. Then we repent or turn from the continual practice of sinful behavior. We turn from sin and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, and His Spirit makes His abode within us. He now can enable us to function according to our original design. Just as 2 Corinthians 5:17 relates, we are now “new creatures” in Christ.

As new creations, loving God and pleasing Him is our all-consuming, lifelong objective. Our new aim is to emulate our Lord and live for Him to the best of our ability for the rest of our lives. We are the “living proof” of God’s marvelous plan of redemption, whereby Jesus Christ can transform a sinful and fallen humanity into the very likeness of Christ to become the Children of God, as John writes,

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12–13 (KJV).

Our faith is in Christ, an everlasting, sure and steadfast hope as this old hymn attests,

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less3

               Edward Mote (1834)

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found; Dressed in His righteousness, alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.

Sinful, fallen, human lives can change drastically in the presence of the Living Christ, and drastically changed lives, or those that are Christ-centered and Spirit-controlled will think, speak, and act in ways that will honor the Lord and benefit others.

Changed, Born Again lives have hearts that delight in the Lord. We love Him and find our truest pleasure and satisfaction—not in the tings of the world—but in being in a loving fellowship with our true and living God.

As we grow in Him. We learn that Christ has everything that can delight us perfectly. Thus, we can find our most fulfilled wishes and deepest abiding joys. And as we love Him and find our delight in Him, His perfect will is desired, as His abiding peace, joy, and tranquility fill our souls. Won’t you give your heart to Jesus and experience New Life, and be Born Again in Him? He can give you eternal peace and satisfaction in this life and the next.

What a Wonderful Savior!

And Being Fully Persuaded!

For March 13, 2022
Faith is a mystery that is essential to our relationship with God. Abraham was seventy-five when God commanded him to go to an unspecified location, and he obeyed without wavering. Such conviction in the face of tremendous uncertainty was unprecedented. No one before Abraham showed a willingness to obey God with such unrealized faith; depending on an unseen reality for his family’s survival. Thus, God rewarded him with a solemn promise,

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:3 (AKJV)

Today, we still honor Abraham for spawning a nation, and a faith movement that’s still vibrant today, because as Romans 4:21 (AKJV) attests (my emphasis),

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Paul’s commentary of Abraham’s faith encounter with the Lord gives us two important lessons relevant to the Christian life today. The first is the steadfastness of our True and Living God, as it declares that God is immutable, and we can trust His veracity in any situation. God’s Words are true, eternal, and shall never fail, even as Jesus Himself declares,

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35 (NIV)

Hear the testimony of the Psalmist,

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)

Human resolve will only go as far as our finite human strength will take us—no further! But our God is eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent. Only He alone can keep every promise He made in the past, is making today, or will make in the future.

The Lord is wholly without change. This concept is hard to grasp for the modern mind since our lives along with all that we know (or will ever know) is capricious and ever changing.

Yet, our Lord is absolute, and without vacillation. Here is what James writes about the matter,

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

Moreover, God is without untruth. Look at what Jeremiah attests,

But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. Jeremiah 10:10 (NIV)

Even the greatest and noblest of us—past, present, or future—cannot make this assertion. Yet, we can still hear the voice of the Almighty resounding from eternity through His word: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him!” Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)

The importance of living, vibrant (mustard seed) faith represents the second lesson we can learn from this passage. Abraham was a man of great faith in God; he was “fully persuaded” that God could and would do exactly what He promised to do. In Abraham’s testimony, and other people of faith… including us, we can see clearly that as we continue abiding in the steadfast promises of the Almighty God, we can know safety, and eternal peace and fulfillment.

This kind of faith would have said, if it could speak, “I believe, Lord; although I can’t see where my belief will take me; but I will believe in You, with the conviction that everything will work out perfectly.” Here is what the Psalmist again writes,

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37 3,6 (NKJV)

The story does not end with Abraham; it applies to us today.  Just as God promised and delivered on His promises to Abraham, being utterly steadfast and true to His word, God will also be absolutely steadfast and true to His promises to us today.

But to receive His blessings, we must be as Abraham.  And that is to tenaciously hold to God’s unchanging hand,

Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand1
Jennie B. Wilson (1857-1913)

Time is filled with swift transition. Naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you. Whatsoever years may bring. If by earthly friends forsaken, Still more closely to Him cling.

Covet not this world’s vain riches, That so rapidly decay. Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures. They will never pass away.

When your journey is completed, If to God you have been true, Fair and bright the home in Glory, Your enraptured soul will view.

Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand. Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of all redeeming faith. Trust in Him and the promises of God become yes and amen! (Hebrews 12:2, 2 Corinthians 1:20)

As we hold to God’s unchanging hand, even when we cannot see the outcome, we must remain encouraged; confident that God’s will is being done. And His will produces positive outcomes for His precious children—always. Won’t you trust in the Lord today? He promised He will never fail or forsake us.

What a Wonderful Savior!